Microsoft is the company behind Internet Explorer-a browser that was so historically prone to security holes and vulnerabilities that some of its critics dubbed it ‘Spyware Explorer.’ Considering this legacy, what can Microsoft possibly teach Apple about software security. Quite a bit, actually.
You see, Microsoft had to learn the hard way that virus coders and hackers no longer roll out code for prestige and street credibility. For every hacker who produces viruses and spyware to establish a name for himself, there are dozens of others writing viruses for purely commercial purposes. Malware coding is big business nowadays. There is so much money to be made coding malware that sends out spam, which tricks people into giving cybercriminals sensitive financial informaton like online banking login details, online services credentials, and others.
For the longest time, spammers, hackers, and cybercriminals used Internet Explorer and other Microsoft products as conduits for their shady activities. Microsoft had to learn the hard way but it has gotten quite good at it with the years. Here are just some of the things Microsoft can teach Apple about security.
Fast updates and communication are crucial to controlling security breaches
When a vulnerability in the Mac version of Word was used by hackers sometime ago, the difference between Microsoft and Apple response to security vulnerabilities was shown to be almost black and white. While Microsoft would quickly get on the horn about their vulnerability and issue a patch, Apple was very slow to the draw.
The reason for this is, for the longest time, Apple products were immune to viruses. Seriously. The ‘immunity’ was not due to Apple products’ tougher security features but commercial reality-it just wasn’t worth a hacker’s time to code malware for machines that formed a fraction of the global computing market. Now that Apple products are more widespread and popular, the ‘immunity’ it enjoyed no longer exists, and it has to quickly get its act together.
Proactive security measures
Microsoft’s auto update feature goes a long way in reassuring users the world over regarding security breaches. In fact, after XP, this system has become so silent and so efficient that many users don’t even notice that their computer is actively taking precautions against infection. Apple can use some of this vigilance. Old habits die hard and the false sense of security gained from the years when ‘Macs don’t get viruses’ is very hard to get rid of.